Video Games aren't art. We've heard the argument before. But video game characters are no longer stand-alone ventures. They're juggernauts: franchises that serialize this style of creative, immersive entertainment. Since Lara Croft first emerged in the 90s, she has spawned several game titles, movies, and comics. She has also appeared as an anime character in Revisioned: Tomb Raider Animated Series and has gone through many incarnations as a poseable action figure.
Another medium that the globe-hopping adventurer appears in is fan art. The work submitted online and in artist portfolios shows a deep love of the character. It also reveals how much the public perception of the character has changed over the years. Lara Croft is still very much a symbol of feminity, but creators and artists have tended to move away from a simple big chested, tightly-clad femme with dual pistols.
The art that some fans have come up with is nothing short of amazing. Through their pen, brush and digital software, they have captured the essence of what makes Lara Croft so damn intriguing. Each picture reveals a snapshot of a different side to the character's personality including her daring and vulnerability.
15 Stunning Environments & Exotic Locales
When anyone thinks of Lara Croft and her archaeological adventures, they immediately get drawn to the setting. Lush tropical rainforests. Unforgiving deserts. Fallen ruins. James Bond and the Uncharted series successfully bank on the mystery and intrigue that comes from the ancient and natural worlds — the journeys of the Tomb Raider are no different.
This appeals to us because it mirrors our own desire for travel and to create an exciting life. Such locations this adventurer visits in the 1996 game begins with the cradle of civilization: Egypt, Peru, and the mythical Atlantis. From then on, in the video game sequel, Lara continues to visit other locations such as the Great Wall of China, monasteries in Tibet, the South Pacific, Nevada and Area 51 and the bleak freezing temperatures of Antarctica.
14 Croft Against The Elements
When readers and video game enthusiasts play the latest titles of the game, they are usually challenged with the unforgiving force of nature. This is no longer just gun-toting action. It has become more survivalist horror fantasy. Games such as Last of Us and movies like The Book of Eli deal with the practical side of how of to live and endure in harsh environments. It is something that The Revenant did spectacularly. It showed the dangers of blizzards and the biting cold where fur trappers tried to eke out a living on the frontier. In this way, the environment becomes a character in the video games. Lara often has to tunnel her way through tight spaces, swim in underground caverns and scale impossible climbs during a rain-lashing storm.
13 Fighting Dangerous Mythical Beasts
What's worse than being chased by flesh-hungry wolves or being attacked by wild cats filled with bloodlust? Fighting mythical creatures that are impossible to kill. Similar to Indiana Jones' own fantastical encounters, Lara has added a lot of unusual enemies to her kill list. Among the usual beasts of claw and fang, she has fought skeletons, dragons, yetis, mutants, Shiva statues, Nephilim, and undead knights.
Every creature of myth gets the CGI treatment. Of late, the baddies are given a more horror edge. Such creatures include the Oni - Japanese demons of legend. What makes the enemies that much more sinister is how they are revealed. Often Lara will be creeping along, flame torch in hand, and hidden assailants jump out to attack her. Combine this with console's shock controller feature, and a calm situation descends into a desperate, dramatic, clawing fight for life.
12 Hardcore Survival Ups The Dangers Faced
Once upon a time, video game characters would just have a life bar that would flash or reduce when hit by an enemy. If they died, they'd just respawn with one of their saved lives and continue on. The screen might fade out. The ominous words 'Game Over' would appear. But we're living in an age where the consumer, the watcher, the binge-er wants more realism. More grit. So now Lara can get jumped, scratched or drown or suffer a leg or arm injury from a rival's arrow or bullet. She might stumble or her vision gets blurry as she traverses the edge of death. Suddenly, it's not just enemies that matter anymore. The tomb raider has to watch her step in case she falls into a ravine, craft arrows and medkits if she runs low, search the wilderness for resources or to hunt game to make the equipment that will aid her in getting out of her hellish nightmare.
11 Girl With Attitude...And A Gun
Channeling Kill Bill and Annie's Got a Gun, there's a bold attitude on show here. Her back pushed up against a grisly wall of death, Lara Croft, blood-soaked, and wearing cloth-wrap bandage gloves, makes her stand. The cold barrel of her handgun gleams softly in the flame light.
What this art does is portray one of the most important elements of the character. When she is challenged or finds herself in a compromising or near-death situation, she will fight with every ounce of her will like a cornered animal. Survival means everything. Even if that means connecting with her instinctive nature.
10 Reimagining Lara Croft's Look
Ever wondered what another actress would look like as the brawling, avenging hunter of relics? Taking over the character's representation first depicted by Angela Jolie, Alicia Vikander is now set to star in the rebooted 2018 film. Many fine, stunning actresses have been considered for the role including Emily Blunt, Jessica Biel and, in this case, Michelle Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is not actually such a bad choice, considering she has shown her bravado in Resident Evil starring fellow stunning starlet, Milla Jovovich, and a professional, no-nonsense criminal in the Fast and Furious series.
9 A More Mature Experienced Adventurer
As a breath of fresh air for some fans, some depictions of Lara dial it down from the blatant pandering character. For goodness sake, look she's wearing clothes! The character still maintains the feminine touches like a slender jawline and salubrious eyes, but it doesn't compromise these by exposing her as another eye-candy model. There are many people out there that still enjoy the soft-haired fantasy of the stunning-yet-scathed woman appearing in their neighborhood, but thankfully some artists are keen to show off the tomb raider's charm. Another point one feels to bring to light is the carefully drawn hair and face. Creating hair with light, shadows, and color is a sketch artist's delight. Drawing a face that captures feminine graces is less an easier achievement.
8 Honoring The Source Material
With luscious lips that first made boys swoon when Angelina Jolie appeared in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, some portrayals just win on the visuals. Everything about this image cries reference to the original: the guns, the holsters, the oversized belt. Sometimes the attire seems less than practical. For example, in a hot climate, why would you wear a fashionable leather wrist guard? Are you hoping to run into a glee-club crowd and impress them with your audaciousness? Also, real live hikers everywhere, who have actually braved the subtropical and temperate zones in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia will correctly point out that, despite the gorgeous white tank top, it must really be uncomfortable to let the leather straps of your backpack tear into your skin. But regardless of these style options, the rose-tinted shades and those toned abs brings us back to the positive appreciation of this piece.
7 The Pin Up Pose
Who doesn't like their favorite character appearing in a deliberate, 'look at me' pose? Generations of young men cried into the night when they were reminded that Leeloo from The Fifth Element was a fictional creation. No orange-haired, plastic leotard wearing woman was coming to save them from their heartache. Obsessives everywhere also freeze-framed and screenshotted Talia Al Ghul as she talked to the dark knight in Batman: Arkham City.
Lara Croft pauses during her high-climbing, extreme-combat forays to kneel and smile. It's like she looks out to millions of viewers and says: 'all of this leaping around is just peripheral. I'm really doing this for you, player!'
6 The Appeal Of The Vulnerable Warrior Woman
Whatever comments are said about Lara Croft, she is still an amazing woman. Her physique, her clothing, and her attitude may have been glamorized, but critics need to just stop sometimes and admire a work of art. The juxtaposition of her feminine side with her warrior nature delves deeper into her character. It reveals the heart of what we all desire to do or want: to protect those people and ideals we love.
Water has a way of increasing the "physicality" of a character. The first Bond girl walked out of the ocean, hair slicked back. Daniel Craig himself copied this, showing off his fit masculine body. It's a trope — but it's effective.
5 Croft In Comics
A lot of comics exist to sensationalize and popularize battles and dangers featuring superhuman characters. They also serve to idealize what is strong and what is stunning. For male warriors, it's a jagged beard with muscles bigger than your torso. For women, it is toned with great hair, great skin, and a killer body. If she gets a scratch, falls in the mud or gets in a scuffle, the comic art adds this stylistically. In this version, the gym-toned character is Olympian fit, brandishes smoking guns, and, just to cap it off, she even painted her nails before she headed out to fight countless hordes of enemies.
4 Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation
The last game in the Tomb Raider series to be released in the 90s was The Last Revelation. This fan art, in particular, acknowledges all the features of the heroine including all her well-known trademarks including her famous weapons of choice, stylish spectacles, and long braided ponytail. Dual hip holsters, khaki short pants, and a tank top complete the ensemble.
This piece brings together all the fine elements of the franchise before it was upgraded and later rebooted. Besides her style, with the over-the-shoulder suggestive look, it includes old stone ruins containing Egyptian deities Ra, the sun god, and Seth, the god of chaos. Finally, the horizon is filled with dazzling light, encouraging her enigmatic walk into the unknown.
3 Three Great Archaeologists Meet
Any reference to the Lara Croft character could not be made without mentioning other fictional universes that influenced it. Nathan Drake is another name that young men look up to in much the same way as a generation did to the death-defying Indiana Jones with his roguish charm and good looks. Having said that, Jones himself would not have existed without the influence of Rider Haggard's Alan Quartermain as well as the likes of Humphrey Bogart's film, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. It also serves as a reminder that female characters have not been developed and promoted as much as their male counterparts. That is changing slowly with the edgier Tomb Raider games and upcoming film. You also see that shift in the sci-fi epic adventure Horizon: Zero Dawn, where characters get to play a red-haired outcast warrior, Aloy.
2 A Legend In The Making
The major reason Croft is famous, or should be credited for, is her exploration and study of ancient history. She has made a career that is the stuff of legends. An ancient cult of Xian that traces its history back to an Emperor of China, Indian Hindu temples, and Cambodia's Angkor Wat are just some of the exotic places she has visited.
Add to this plethora of interesting locales, ancient daggers, buried artifacts, and jewels, and you have a recipe for sleuthing in locations lost in the sands of time. But more than that, it follows an interest that all people have. Namely, this is the fascination with the past and where we have come from. The fact that so much of this is largely unknown creates a sense of mystery and even invites speculation into the truth of our origins. This includes evidence of gold mining in Southern African continent that dates back several hundred years, the sunken underwater Roman roads found in the Adriatic, and the wonderment surrounding Mayan civilization and its prophecies that reach right into our modern times.
1 Transforming From Action Hero To The Warrior Heart
One of the most enduring things that has made Lara Croft work as a character is her tough-as-nails mentality and fighting ability. That has become more grounded as the years pass. She still has the edge and all the allure of a femme fatale, but more importantly, she now gets portrayed as a warrior out to conquer her fears and the world.
She doesn't need some macho hero to lend her a hand or help her up. We all want someone to fight for us. According to the most recent adaptions, when Lara is forced into a position where she must fend for herself — she'll get things under control. Through her traumatic experiences, she has forged a new identity. After learning to make and use a bow and arrow, making her first human kill, and running through tunnels filled with blood and human remains, Lara Croft rises as a warrior woman of action.